From petroglyphs to atomic bombs

Trip Start Feb 20, 2006
Trip End Feb 28, 2006

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Monday, February 27, 2006

It's sunday morning and the best way to start the day is to head to Plaza cafe in the centre of the old town where one can get blue corn and pinon hotcakes. I opted out of the real Canadian maple syrup, refusing to pay the $4.25 surcharge for the privilege to eat something so readily available back home. With the hotcakes all tucked away, I headed out to Bandelier National Monument. At the Tzankawi ruins, the 1.5 mile loop takes one up khiva ladders, past water channels and petroglyphs to the top where there are ruins of ancient dwelling sites and a panoramic vista of mesas galore. At the main site of Bandelier is a longer walk that leads to an excavated village, numerous cave dwellings carved into the rock formations in the Frijoles Canyon, and a ceremonial cave perched high up just under the rim of the canyon, requiring a 140 foot climb of 4 rickety khiva ladders to reach.

A detour takes us to Valle Grande, an extinct volcanic crater. It was stunning to see the distinct scrub grass growing inside the caldera surrounded by evergreens.

By then, it was late afternoon, leaving very little time to see the Bradbury Science Museum and Historical Society museum in Los Alamos. With my peace-loving attitude, I found it difficult to come to terms with what this place signifies. While I can appreciate what the gathering of some of the world's top physicists accomplished, I had a much harder time dealing with the detonation of the two atomic bombs over Japan, killing multitudes of innocent victims and still significantly affecting the health of a people generations later. It was nice to know that I was not alone thinking this way. At the end of the exhibit, there was a place where we could write our thoughts--for or against--nuclear weaponry.

All this hiking and action--time for a good soak at the spa...aaah. I booked a private spa pool at the relaxing Japanese style 10,000 Waves spa resort. I never thought I could spend an hour just soaking in a hot tub but at the end of it all, my muscles were like mush.
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